Pope's condom stance welcomed by WHO

Comments made by Benedict XVI in new book Light Of The World: The Pope, The Church, The Sign of the Times regarding Durex products and similar have been welcomed by a representative from the World Health Organization (WHO).

Dr Shin Young-soo, regional director for the western Pacific, expressed hope that the pontiff's words - which do not endorse buying condoms for contraception outright - will prove effective in softening resistance to the wearing of Durex close fit and other prophylactics.

"The Pope's statement is in line with evidence that condoms are highly effective in preventing infection with the HIV virus," he was quoted by the Associated Press as saying.

Dr Young-soo went on to note that the Aids epidemic in the Asia Pacific region has been primarily driven by unprotected sex, with 1.4 million people - more than double the number a decade ago - living with the disease.

He explained that approximately 20 per cent of prostitutes and 30 per cent of men having gay sex are infected.